Tom Holland describes ‘The Crowded Room’ as his most difficult and rewarding work to date

The words “Tom Holland” and “spoilers” can immediately elicit snickers. There are compilation videos on YouTube of the “Spider-Man” star that accidentally reveal too much about the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Slips by him and near-gifts by him have become a running joke among his co-stars and filmmakers.

The actor found himself in familiar territory with his twisted and surprise-laden new series “The Crowded Room,” now streaming on Apple TV+, and says keeping quiet about Marvel is a piece of cake by comparison.

“With Marvel…it’s all about the villain, the costumes, the locations, the end result. It’s relatively easy to keep those things under wraps,” Holland said in a recent interview. “I know it sounds stupid coming from me because I mess everything up, but with ‘The Crowded Room’ there are so many twists and turns on this show that people don’t expect. It really is a puzzle.”

The limited series takes place in 1970s New York with Holland as Danny, a young man arrested in connection with a crime. His accomplices are nowhere to be found, and an investigator assigned to the case (played by Amanda Seyfried) conducts a series of interviews with Danny to piece together his involvement.

Holland and Seyfried filmed their scenes, out of order, “for almost three weeks straight” in an interrogation room.

“Sometimes it was confusing. I needed to know exactly where I was in the process with Danny, how much we knew or how much the public knew and how much (Seyfried’s character) Rya knew,” she explained. “It was complicated”.

Holland credits Seyfried with keeping him on track, as they “did over 100 pages of dialogue at that table in that room.”

“Amanda is very talented, she is very professional. She is able to hold the light when it is dark,” she said. “There were certain moments in that room where we were both losing our minds, just scene after scene after scene after scene. We were just a great team.”

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Holland describes the job as “the most difficult” he’s had so far, saying that halfway through filming “I was counting down the days that I could take this year off and have some time to myself.”

“Danny is a exhausting character. Going to those places every day, having that haircut, filming on the streets of New York, it was hard. It wasn’t an easy program to make”, but he says that seeing the end result “was very rewarding. I’m happy I dug in my heels and stuck with it.”

He also served as co-executive producer for the first time, helping him finally understand what the job entails.

“I spent the first 15 years of my career on set thinking, ‘What are all these people doing? They’re all sitting there. But having been a producer right now, it’s one of the most stressful things I’ve ever done. You’re shooting in a car and the car breaks down and all of a sudden you’re trying to figure out how to get a new car or how to turn the scene into a walking scene and all that kind of stuff.”

Since beginning his acting career at the age of 11 in “Billy Elliott the Musical” in London’s West End, Holland says his formal education has been “kind of non-existent” so he appreciates the learning opportunities he gets from work.

With “The Crowded Room” Holland says “I learned a lot about myself. I learned about my capabilities as an actor. I learned things that I can endure. I feel like I’m much better able to deal with adversity and fight things that go wrong on set. I learned a lot about mental health. I learned a lot about the power of the human mind and the amazing things we can do to protect ourselves, heal ourselves, and survive.”

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